To improve the science and research capacity of the Northwest Arctic Borough to better understand our environment.
- Involve the people of the borough and their knowledge in research and education efforts.
- Improve communication among the committee, the researchers, and the people of the Borough.
- Support research that informs sound decision making that contributes to sustaining our natural resources.
- Expand local research infrastructure and training.
- Foster collaborative funding and research efforts.
In December 2014, the Borough and Shell Oil negotiated a five-year cooperative research agreement. In the first year, the Borough proposed, and was granted a $1.2 million grant to build capacity and fund several regional projects. A half-million of the grant supplemented the subsistence mapping project, a major endeavor to document our subsistence way of life.
A steering committee was established to act as a coordinating body for baseline scientific research and to establish priorities. The steering committee consists of fifteen members. Members of the Committee include village representatives, scientists and other Arctic specialists. Mayor Joule appointed seven local representatives that serve on the committee. The Local representative includes Chairman, Cyrus Harris, Roland Booth, Alex Whiting, Norma Ballot, Raymond Lee, Stanley Hawley, and Morgan Johnson. At large members include Vice-Chair, Henry Huntington, Huntington Consulting, Michael Brubaker with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Molly McCammon with Alaska Ocean Observing Systems, and Richard Glenn with Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. The independent scientists that serve on the committee are Doug DeMaster, external scientist, NOAA Fisheries, Science & Research Director, Alaska Region and Gay Sheffield, Assistant Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program Agent. Shell Oil representatives include Louis Brzuzy, Science Team Lead and Ruth Perry, PhD, Marine Science and Regulatory Policy Specialist.
As part of the first meeting of the newly formed Science Steering Committee, the Northwest Arctic Borough hosted a Science Symposium April 22-25, 2014 in Kotzebue. The steering committee heard from over 20 different local, state, federal, and academic institutions that conduct research in our area. More than 55 people attended all or part of the symposium.
Over the course of two more meetings, the committee members agreed to the following first steps:
- Assess the current state of Arctic research in the Chukchi Sea and analyze gaps in research areas.
- Conduct a village survey to assess issues of concern in the region (region-wide survey completed). A summary of the survey can be downloaded here, and the survey itself can be downloaded here.
- Assess the status of a local research lab.
- Fund several small research projects.
- Set research priorities.
In our first year we are very proud to have accomplished the following:
- Out of a $1.2-million grant $728,906.00 went directly to local research.
- Village surveys were completed providing useful information about local research priorities.
- Completed knowledge assessments regarding current state of Arctic research in the Chukchi Sea and analyzed gaps in research areas.
- Research is community based, and local and traditional knowledge is an integral part of the research.
- Provided jobs and training in the community having a positive economic impact.
The first projects funded include the following:
- Using Acoustics Moorings to Study Belugas in Kotzebue Sound: This project will monitor the acoustics of beluga to determine when they arrive and depart the Kotzebue Sound and assess abundance of stock. Funding is for one-year and Alex Whiting, Native Village of Kotzebue, will lead the project.
- Bearded Seal Hearing Project: This project funds the purchase of acoustic recording instruments for use by the Native Village of Kotzebue. The instruments will be used to establish baseline noise levels that will be useful in future comparisons of the contribution of shipping and industry activity to noise in the area. This funding is for one-year and Alex Whiting with the Native Village of Kotzebue will lead the project.
- Kotzebue Sound Ambient Noise Monitoring Project: This project funds a study that complements laboratory experiments by the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) about the sensory capabilities of seals by measuring baseline, year-round acoustic habitat of the Kotzebue Sound. The funds will be used to purchase acoustic recording instruments and acoustic release mechanisms, costs of local boat time, fuel, shipping, UCSC analysis support, and salaries. This funding is for one-year and Alex Whiting with the Native Village of Kotzebue will lead the project.
- Northwest Arctic Data Portal: This project will begin the process of building a data portal that will be hosted on the AOOS website. The portal will store and provide access to Northwest Arctic Borough research and other data that may be of interest to residents. The portal could include any kind of spatial data. This will begin the project but additional funding will be needed. Molly McCammon and the Alaska Ocean Observing System will lead this project.
- Circulation and Hydrographic Structure in Kotzebue Sound: This project will collect snapshots of near-surface circulation and water column structure in and near Kotzebue Sound using satellite-tracked drifters and a portable conductivity-temperature-depth profiler. The drifters will provide information on circulation and wind patterns. The project will be implemented by Seth Danielson of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in coordination with the Native Village of Kotzebue.
- Buckland Beluga Whale Project: This project adds $7,600.00 for additional staffing support for the Buckland Beluga Whale Project. The North Slope Borough is providing additional funding for this project.
- State of Knowledge: This project will provide basic background information on current Arctic research in designated topic areas, i.e., sea ice, marine mammals. Recognized experts in each field will be asked to provide a brief summary on each topic. Henry Huntington, Pew Foundation, and Michael Macrander, Shell, will coordinate the effort.
Science Symposium, Kotzebue, April 2011
The Northwest Arctic Borough hosted a Science Symposium April 22-25 in Kotzebue. The symposium was held in conjunction with the first meeting of the Borough’s newly formed Science Steering Committee. The steering committee heard from over 20 different local, state, federal, and academic institutions that conduct research in our area. More than 55 people attended all or part of the symposium. The Committee will set research priorities for baseline studies funded by a generous grant from Shell. Members of the Committee include village representatives, scientists and other Arctic specialists. Local representatives that serve on the committee include Cyrus Harris, Chairman, Roland Booth, Alex Whiting, Norma Ballot, Raymond Lee, Stanley Hawley, and Morgan Johnson. At large members include Henry Huntington, Vice-Chair from the Pew Foundation, Michael Brubaker with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Molly Mccammon with Alaska Ocean Observing Systems, and Richard Glenn with Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Additionally, Michael Macrander represents Shell Oil.
What Does it Mean?
What is it?
The Shell Agreement is a grant contract between Shell Oil and the Northwest Arctic Borough. The agreement provides funds for the Borough to start a science division and to conduct scientific research.
How much is it?
First year grant amount is for over a million dollars, $1,152,945.00 to be precise. Future funding for ongoing years will be negotiated each year. The agreement also provides funding to continue the subsistence mapping project .
How long is it?
Anticipated initial length is five years with yearly renewals. The first year of the contract will run Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st, 2014.
What are the Borough’s duties in the first year?
In the first year the Borough will establish a Science Division and hire a science director. The first task will be to establish the Borough’s research priorities and goals. The priorities will be set through the cooperative efforts of the new science director and a new steering committee. The steering committee is made up of fifteen members.
Five members were to be nominated by the Mayor. Mayor Joule has nominated five people to represent the following communities:
- Raymond Lee: Village Representative for the communities of Deering and Buckland
- Morgan Johnson: Village Representative for the communities of Ambler, Shugnak, and Kobuk
- Norma Ballot: Village Representative for the communities of Noorvik, Kiana, and Selawik
- Stanley Hawley: Village Representative for the communities of Noatak and Kivalina:
- Alex Whiting: Village Representative from Kotzebue
- Cyrus Harris: At-large member from Kotzebue
- Roland Booth: At-large member from Noatak
Four independent at-large members are agreed upon jointly by Shell and the Borough, representing both industry and the non-profit sectors. They are:
- Molly McCammon, Executive Director, Alaska Ocean Observing Systems
- Henry Huntington, Senior Officer, International Arctic Program, Pew Foundation
- Richard Glenn, Vice-President, Lands, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
- Michael Brubaker, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Two independent qualified scientists are to be appointed by the mayor from a list of fifteen nominees provided by Shell. These members have not been appointed yet.
Finally, Shell will appoint two nominees of its own selection. The Shell appointees are:
- Michael Macrandar, Chief Scientist, Shell Oil
In order to set the research priorities, the Borough hosted an Arctic Science Symposium. The symposium provided baseline knowledge about the Arctic to the steering committee, Borough employees, residents, and other attendees.
At the conclusion of the symposium, a written report will be provided to Shell. The report will detail the Borough’s research priorities and goals and outline a strategy to accomplish the research goals.
The Borough and the steering committee will propose research projects to Shell that will provide valuable scientific data to both the Borough and Shell.
How often do we meet?
The steering committee will meet four times a year. The expenses of the steering committee will be funded by Shell, including travel, hotel, and per diem. One meeting a year will be held jointly with the North Slope Borough.
What is the term of steering committee members?
The initial term of each member is 3 years, except the statewide at-large members who serve a one-year term. If a member has more than 2 unexcused absences in any calendar year, he or she may be removed from the committee.
What establishes a quorum?
A quorum is established by the representation of at least 10 members of the committee, which shall include: at least one external scientist, one member each from Shell and the Borough, and one village representative.
What is meeting protocol?
The steering committee will establish its own meeting protocol, including recording minutes of meetings and any decisions at meetings. Decisions should be based on a consensus but the steering committee shall establish a decision-making methodology to use when a decision can’t be reached by consensus.
The steering committee shall elect a Chairperson and Vice-Chair and assign the duties, roles, responsibilities, term of service, and how the chairperson is selected.
What are the main duties of steering committee members?
- Working with the Science Director, set the research priorities of the Borough and the baseline science research for each calendar year
- Develop research and monitoring guidelines
- Develop a plan for communicating the validated baseline science results to Borough communities and other key stakeholders
- Establish a data subcommittee to review the quality of project data that is questioned by another party when necessary
- Establish subcommittees if and when necessary
There are no directory members listed for this department.